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 BIOLOGY 
MODULE - 6B
Apiculture, Lac Culture and SericultureEconomic Biology
 110Notes
Ever since the beginning of civilization, man has been trying to make use animalsaround him for various purposes and to rear them for increasing their number. Inthis context, you have learnt in the two previous lessons about animal husbandryand fisheries. In this lesson you will get acquainted with the major aspects of apiculture (Bee- keeping), lac culture (rearing lac insects) and sericulture (rearingsilk moths).
OBJECTIVES
After completing this lesson, you will be able to :
define apiculture (bee-keeping), list the species of honey bee and emphasizetheir economic importance;
describe the structure of the bee-hive and various castes in a normal bee colony;
explain the different biological features of the castes of honey-bee, castedetermination, development of the brood in comb (nest) and swarming;
explain the methods of catching and hiving of swarms of honey bees and thecommon methods of bee keeping;
describe the extraction of honey and beeswax and enumerate their uses;
name the insect that produces lac and mention its uses;
describe the main aspects in the life history of a lac producing insect;
explain the terms stick lac, seed lac and shellac;
define sericulture, name the insects (moths) that produce silk and their respective host plants;
give a general account of the life history of the silk moth; and 
list the non-mulberry hosts for silk production, their sources and the parts of  India where they are produced.
35
APICULTURE, LAC CULTURE ANDSERICULTURE
 
MODULE - 6B
Economic Biology
 111
Apiculture, Lac Culture and Sericulture
 BIOLOGY 
Notes35.1 APICULTURE35.1.1 Bee-keeping – Its meaning and importanceApiculture is also known as bee-keeping. Why this name?
‘Apis’ means bee. The scientific names of different species of honeybees begin withthe generic name
 Apis
. Apiculture or bee-keeping is the art of caring for, andmanipulating colonies of honeybee in large quantity, over and above their ownrequirement.
35.1.2 Brief History
The first evidence of this association came to light from the rock paintings madeby primitive human. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian were well acquainted withbee keeping before the Christian Era. In Rigveda, there are many references to beeand honey. Bee-keeping became a commercial proposition during the 19
th
 centuryas a result of scientific research. Apiculture is a flourishing industry in manyadvanced countries like USA, Canada, Germany and Australia.
35.1.3 Importance of bee keeping
There are three main advantages of bee-keeping:(i)Provides honey - a valuable nutritional food(ii)Provides bees wax - which has many uses in industry(iii)Honey bees are excellent pollinating agents, thus increasing agricultural yields.In terms of actual value this advantage exceeds the other two.
35.1.4 Species of honey bee
There are four common species of honey bee under a single genus
 Apis
(apis =bee):1.
 Apis dorsata
 (The rock- bee)This is the largest honeybee.Builds single large open comb on high branches of trees and rocks.Produces large quantity of honey, but this bee is difficult to domesticate.This bee is ferocious, stings severely causing fever and sometimes even death.2.
 Apis indica
 (The Indian bee)Medium - sizedHive consists of several parallel combs in dark places such as cavities of treetrunks, mud walls, earthen posts, etc.This bee is not so ferocious and can be domesticated3.
 Apis florea
 (The little bee)small - sizedBuilds single small combs in bushes, hedges, etc.Honey yield is poor.
 
 BIOLOGY 
MODULE - 6B
Apiculture, Lac Culture and SericultureEconomic Biology
 112Notes
4.
 Apis mellifera
 (The European bee)Somewhat like the Indian bee (
 Apis indica
).This has been introducted in many parts of the world including India.It is easily domesticated.
INTEXT QUESTIONS 35.1
1.What does “Apis”, a latin word mean literally?............................................................................................................................2.Write three advantages of bee-keeping.............................................................................................................................3.Name the two species of honeybee that can be domesticated.............................................................................................................................
35.1.5 The bee colony – various castes and their activities
A honey bee colony has three castes (Fig. 35.1a)(i)Queen – only one; functional female(ii)Workers – 20,000-30,000, sterile females(iii)Drones – a few only, functional males available prior to swarming.
(i)Queen Bee
Queen bee is the only perfectly developed female, that is has well developedovaries and other organs of female reproductive system.She is largest in size.Its wings are smaller and are shrivelled.Mouth parts for sucking food is shorter than that of workers.No wax glands.Live for about 3 - 4 years.May lay eggs at the rate of 800 - 1500 per day.
35.1.6 Events in the life of queen bee
Usually at the age of 7-10 days in her parent hive, after the old mother queen alongwith some workers had left for starting another hive, this new virgin queen goesout for marriage (nuptial) flights. The drones from the same hive chase her. Thisswarm may also be joined by drones (male bees) from other hives. Mating takesplace, while flying, on an average, the queen mates with about six drones and thenreturns to the hive. The sperms she has received are enough for her whole life, andshe never mates again.The queen has a control mechanism on the release of the sperms from thespermatheca (sperm store). She can lay two types of eggs:

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